Hoarding Awareness WeekPosted
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the first ever national UK Hoarding Awareness Week this week.
The campaign is being run by the Chief Fire Officers' Association this week (May 19 - 25) and focuses on the risks to people who hoard.
Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: "We all tend to keep things we don't really need. Some of us have more possessions than we really have storage for. But hoarding is a complex issue that goes far beyond untidiness or indecisiveness.
"Hoarders can fill entire rooms from floor to ceiling, leaving themselves the minimum space in which to live. This retention of property presents a real fire risk, and makes it far harder for firefighters to be able to tackle any blaze.
"The presence of vast amounts of hoarded material creates a significant risk to firefighters who in the event of fire enter the building to search for people who may be missing. This is due to the risk of the stored material collapsing blocking their way in and importantly the way out and of course the hugely increased fire loading"
"We are therefore encouraging anyone who knows a hoarder to work with us to find ways of reducing that risk.
"Common materials kept by hoarders include newspapers, magazines, books and soft furnishings - all of which are highly combustible.
"By offering home fire safety checks, and installing smoke alarms, we can work with hoarders to try and make their homes more fire safe.
"If they want help in reducing the impact and risks from hoarding in their lives, then along with the home fire safety check, we can refer them to partner agencies for that support. All we want to do is ensure that they are as fire safe as possible, whatever the circumstances of their home."
If you would like to request a home fire safety check, visit www.freesmokealarm.co.uk or call 0800 1691234.